Artisan Forge Studios Forges Ahead with Outdoor Concert: Forge Fest

new outdoor art + music festival slated for Sept. 18

Rebecca Mennecke |

VALASKA FROM... LOS ANGELES AND CHICAGO? After rock-and-roll powerhouse The Pedaljets had to quickly cancel as a result of COVID-19, Valaska – an indie powerhouse from Los Angeles and Chicago – stepped up to the plate. 

Artisan Forge Studios is forging ahead with its brand-new outdoor art and music festival, slated for Saturday, Sept. 18.

The event features six musicians in six hours for only $30, including modern soul band Hi-Lux from Kansas City; Jagjaguwar recording artist and folk duo Peter Wolf Crier; indie-pop/folk band Ludlow from Chicago; indie powerhouse Valaska from Los Angeles and Chicago; Southside Soul and Nashville Americana musician Nathan Graham from Chicago; and alt-country and indie-rock artist Mitch Mead from Chicago.

We want to make sure the attendees are blown away.

Jim Kasmarek

Organizer of Forge Fest

“We want to make sure the attendees are blown away the entire day by the aesthetic, by the music, and just the general atmosphere of what makes Eau Claire’s art community so vibrant,” said organizer Jim Kasmarek. “We’re just one part of Eau Claire’s art community. And because of our facility, it gives us the opportunity to present an event like Forge Fest, where we can do art in the day and music at night.”

The event was originally scheduled for last year after Kasmarek attended an art show in Milwaukee and heard Chicago-based band Ludlow performing. On the way back, he fired them up on his Spotfiy and thought: We have got to get these guys to Eau Claire. He stopped by Artisan Forge Studios and told owner Greg Johnson: “We’re doing Forge Fest, an outdoor art and music event with six bands in six hours.”

And, to Kasmarek’s surprise, Johnson paused briefly before responding, “Hell yeah we are!”

In addition to great live music, food and drink will be available from Red Coal BBQ Family Restaurant, Godfather’s Pizza, and Sweet Driver Chocolates (which recently added gelato and coffee to their menu)!

The day kicks off with an art market from 10am-4pm, followed by music starting at 5pm. Tickets are limited, with prices starting at $30 (but will increase to $35 on Sept. 1, so snag ’em quickly)!

In addition, Forge Fest offers complimentary $10 food and beverage vouchers to any and all healthcare workers and volunteers for the event. UW-Eau Claire students also get a $10 discount.

Check out more about Forge Fest at